Elgin’s St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy To be Formed, Open in Fall 2020
St. Joseph campus to host new academy
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
January 9, 2020
ELGIN—The Diocese of Rockford announced to parents, faculty and parishioners at St. Joseph Parish here, that it would be the site of the new vision for Catholic education in the Elgin area. 
St. Joseph School will be home of the new St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy. St. Joseph School will close at the end of this school year and open in direct partnership with St. 
Edward  Central Catholic High School in the fall of 2020. 
The academy will be initially supported by St. Joseph Parish and funds set aside for consolidation available through the Rockford Diocese. 
St. Joseph, St. Laurence and St. Mary parish schools face challenges all too common across the diocese and across the U.S. in regard to declining enrollments, declining population and increasing costs. These Elgin Catholic schools were identified in the Rockford Diocese’s strategic planning process — Faith Forward — as particularly vulnerable to these declines. 
In a letter sent to all Elgin parishes the Rockford Diocese said, “After meetings at all three parish schools where options were presented, pastors of the three parishes met with diocesan representatives to share feedback from parents and parishioners. St. Mary and St. Laurence parishes reported to the diocese that they were not interested in a consolidation plan. St. Mary Parish School determined it could continue to operate using financial reserves and try to meet the financial and enrollment goals of healthy schools as set forth in the Faith Forward Strategic Plan. St. Laurence School would likely close.”
Without the support of additional parishes a true consolidation would not be possible. But rather than abandon the idea of a new future for Catholic education in Elgin, the Diocese of Rockford announced it would move forward with the formation of St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy. 
Using a model of education from the western part of the diocese, the new St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy will be a direct academic and spiritual connection to Elgin’s  St. Edward Central Catholic High School providing the high school a presence on both sides of the river in Elgin.
A task force made up of administrators and leaders from St. Edward Central Catholic High School, St. Joseph School and Parish and the Diocese of Rockford will begin work on enhancing the academic curriculum, programming, extracurricular activities and opportunities, home and school programs and marketing. 
The task force will also form committees for finance, facilities and governance. The school and grounds will get a makeover during the summer with a deep cleaning, new paint and signs. 
Current teachers and administrators of St. Joseph School will be invited to apply for positions at the academy.
The Diocese of Rockford wrote it “is confident that this new partnership will strengthen both faith formation and academic options for learners of all levels and abilities. Connecting our elementary and secondary programs through this new model will also help secure and assure the Catholic educational future for all families in the Elgin area.”
An open house at the future site of St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy will be held during Catholic Schools week at the end of January.